"By adopting a child and helping them reach their potential, they help us reach ours. An adopted child is not an unwanted child; to the contrary. They are a child who was searched for, prayed for, cried for, begged for; received by arms that ached, making empty hearts full. Love is meant to be shared." Author unknown

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Exciting week!!! LID and Introducing....!!!!

What beautiful blessings the week of celebrating Jesus's birth!!!  The very spirit who showed us what adoption and serving others looks like!  The loving Christ who sacrificed his life for us, sinners.

As you know, last Friday our dossier was sent to China.  A mere four days later, China already has us logged into their computer system - official LID is 12/22/15!!!!  That is blessing number one!!!!

Blessing number two is that our puzzle fundraising is complete!!!!  
Our goal was Christmas and we did it!!!  You did it!!!  20% of our fundraising goal is complete!!!!  

Thank you for blessing us with your support!!!!

Now that the puzzle is complete, we are blessed to introduce you to our son, Xavier, who waits in China for us.  He is almost 5 years old!  I cannot wait to see a smile on his face, I have only ever seen pictures of him with this hopeless look on his face - it breaks my heart.  

Below is the first photo I ever saw of this precious child, 
soon after our adoption of Corban and Tegan. 

I fell in love and I advocated (along with many others) for the past three years to find him a family.  I have watched him grow through updated pictures, with a continued sulky look on his face.  My heart broke from him, again and again. When I learned that he resided in the same province as Esther, I felt God was talking to me.  Therefore, I challenged God (I still chuckle at this) to prove that this was His will for us and this precious boy.  Well, God answered over and over again.

As many of you know, Xavier, who rocks his Nevus, will fit well into our family, which already has three other Nevus owners who rock their birthmarks!  We can't wait to get him home (and Esther too) to show him the love of a family and put a smile on his face!

Thank you all for your continued partnership, encouragement, and prayers! We still have a lot of adoption expenses to incur and funds to raise.  If you would like to continue to partner with usby doing a small fundraiser of your own or by making a monthly contribution, we would be so very blessed by your efforts to help us close the funding gap!!!  We should travel in 4-5 months, which doesn't leave us a lot of time.

Tax-deductible contributions can be made at www.adopttogether.org/downey - please share with anyone you know who may be looking to make a year end contribution for tax deduction purposes.  
Thank you!

Friday, December 18, 2015

We are DTC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So excited to get to announce this major milestone!!!!  The pile of paperwork that we have been diligently working on, for China to review to see if we will be acceptable parents for Esther and Xavier, was sent sent to China by our agency today!!!!!  We are DTC - a.k.a. Dossier To China!!!!!!!

With that the fundraising continues because the expenses of the process will begin to pile rather quickly as we near the later part of this journey.  We are now on limited, approximately 4-5 months till we travel!!!   Therefore, if you feel you would like to come along side us and be a piece of this adoption journey, we would graciously accept any size contribution you feel you led to give ($5, $15, $50, $500), it all adds up and closes the gap between the high cost of the adoption process and our savings account!  Can't make a monetary contribution?  Perhaps you could help us out by spreading the word or doing your own little fundraiser!  If you are interested in that, please leave me a message here on the blog (with a way to contact you) or via Facebook!

Tax-deductible donations can be made at our fundraising site: www.AdoptTogether.org/downey

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The puzzle is nearly complete - will you accept the CHALLENGE?

Tears flowed today, a family contacted us to utilize our gift wrapping adoption fundraiser services and blessed us with a nice donation - we are so very blessed to have such wonderful new and long time friends, and some we don't even know, partnering with us in this journey! - every amount, small and big, as well as, time spent helping us fund raise- it's all given from the heart and adds up to us bringing these precious children home!!!  For that we are thankful!

Soon, our adorable boy's picture will be revealed - over $4000 has been raised (have you seen the goal thermometer?)- only 51 pieces left to complete the puzzle and this puzzle fundraiser's goal!!!!

CHALLENGE - We really want to share this adorable blessing with all of you, by Christmas eve!  To do that we need 51 people to make a $20 donation or more (or 20 people to make a $50 or 10 people to make a $100), to our AdoptTogether.org/Downey tax deductible fundraising site to reach the puzzle completion goal.  Who's ready to see this child who has waited so long for a family to call his own?  I know I can't wait to share him!

Donations can be made online through AdoptTogether, or checks can be sent as well, if you have questions on either of these, please ask!

BONUS: If local, gift wrapping is another option, get gifts wrapped with your donation!!!!

Who's ready to partner with us for the challenge?

Deuteronomy 26:12-13"When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Where are all the pieces to this puzzle?

37 of 252 pieces - that's 15% of the puzzle - but that means 85% to go till Xavier's picture is fully revealed.  I so want to share our precious boy with you all!

I am finding that raising money for this adoption is NOT "quick and easy".  We have incurred about 25% of the adoption expenses already and more will come due in about 4-5 weeks when the remainder of our agency fee and post adoption retainer fee will become due.  The fees add up fast when you take a leap of faith into an unplanned journey.  A journey to redeem the lives of two children who did not ask to be orphans.  Despite this, I know the cost my God paid to redeem me; therefore, regardless of the paperwork costs to redeem the lives of these two precious children who do not deserve the "cards" they have been dealt, I know this journey will be worth it in the end!  We will be blessed beyond measure and my God will build the necessary funding bridge when the time is right!
Until then, we will cut back where we can (which isn't easy with 8 kids in the house), I will substitute teach as much as possible, and continue fundraising.

Are you one of the missing pieces to our puzzle?  Here are ways you can be a part of the puzzle:
  • Donate items for our upcoming silent auction starting on November 30th (if we get enough items together) - are you a small business owner, crafter, have special items to sell that you would donate?
  • Bid on items in the silent auction that will go on Nov 30th-Dec 9th - Go here to like our silent auction page and to stay up to date.
  • Purchase a $50 Restaurant.com gift certificate for only $20 at our fundraiser site: fundraiser.restaurant.com/c/31882
  • Make a tax deductible contribution at www.adopttogether.org/downey
Thank you to all who have contributed items and made contributions so far!  We are so blessed by you!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

16 of 252 puzzle pieces in place!

Because this blog is a continuation of our second adoption journey, I have to give a shout out to our son Tegan!  Today his fourth year with us - we are so very blessed to be his parents.  Happy 4th Gotcha day, Tegan - can't wait to see you get to be a big brother to Xavier!!!  I know you are excited to finally have that title and not be the youngest Downey!

While the fundraising is slowly trudging forward (you can see our fundraising thermometer to the right), we are getting ready to begin the exciting paper trail ride of adoption!!!  I expect to have our completed home study in hand sometime tomorrow, which means I can then mail off our application to U.S. Immigration.  Then we wait on an invitation for my husband and I to go get our fingerprints taken.  I still don't understand why we have to do this again, we've done this multiple times before - do fingerprints change?

Things will keep moving on down the paper trial from here till the day we receive Travel Approval (TA) - roughly 5-6 months from now!!!!  While that seems like we have time to fund raise, we've already incurred about a third of the adoption expenses.

If you would like to help us with fundraising, please let us know.  Perhaps you have some things you could sell or would like to involve your kids in fundraising for a good reason!  We are blessed by every dollar contributed.  Thank you!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Would you be a piece of the puzzle?

As you now know the big news, many are asking who this precious boy is.  We would love to introduce a picture of him but will begin by introducing his name - Xavier Paul.  To see a picture of him….well, you will have to read on to learn how you can play a part in seeing him and being a part of this amazing puzzle, called adoption! 

As you are probably aware, bridging the gap between a waiting child and their forever family is a costly journey. We are stepping out in faith while trusting God to build a bridge for the funding gap. We would be forever grateful for your prayers and your support in helping our children come home to the love of a family.

Would you be a piece of this puzzle?  Every person who donates to our adoption becomes a part of our story; a piece of our lives, these precious children’s lives!!!

Here's how it works:

We have selected a 252 piece puzzle that includes a picture of our entire family, including our new additions!!!  Each piece will symbolize someone who helps to bring these children home to us.

The Puzzle!

Each piece is a minimum donation of $20

You may choose to be one piece of the puzzle or several pieces of the puzzle – for each $20 increment we will add a piece to the puzzle with YOUR name will be written on the back, representing your part in this journey!

THE CHALLENGE – Xavier’s picture (9 puzzle pieces) will be the last pieces of the puzzle to be added.  Sneaky, I know!

After the puzzle is completed, we will frame the puzzle between two pieces of glass and hang it in our family room. This will be a wonderful keepsake to see all the people who helped bring Esther and Xavier home!  YOU will be a part of completing the missing pieces to our family’s puzzle!

One day we will sit with these children and read off all the names that helped bring them home!  Telling them, "These people loved you before they even knew each of you!"

So when we sell ALL 252 pieces, you have helped to raising over $5,000! This will help to cover a nice chunk of the adoption paperwork expenses!

We would be so honored if you were a part of bringing our children home!

You can donate to our tax-deductible site through our AdoptTogether page  - or mail us a check [email us at tnjdowney @ msn.com (remove the spaces) to get our address]. Please indicate on the site how many pieces you would like and what name(s) to put on the back of each puzzle piece(s). Please share this information with your friends too!  We would love to have the puzzle completed before Christmas because our dossier should be in China by then!

I will be updating the blog with a picture of the puzzle as progress is made so you can see the process and eventually Xavier!

Challenging God to prove His calling for us….

James 1:5-6 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

This verse has been so true as I share the next amazing phase of our journey…

As we have diligently gathered the many documents needed to compile our dossier for China, I continued to pray another pray.  God’s hand had been evident in adding Esther (Lan) to our family; therefore, I further sought His will, asking “is there another, Lord?”  Mind you, I hadn’t mentioned the possibility of bringing home two to my husband as he had previously mentioned that he likely wouldn’t pursue two at once again, if that time ever came.  Recalling this had my stomach in knots but I knew if God could soften my husband’s heart for Esther, then I knew He would do it again.

With faith, I challenged God to show me signs if there is another child out there who He is asking us to parent.  Additionally, knowing I would be in the midst of my internship when we travel, I told God (lol, I know, sound funny to think I could put parameters on this)that  if we were to bring home two, there was no way I could spend three weeks in China, like last time.  This would mean that the second child would have to be in the same province, but not necessarily the same city, as Esther.
Would you believe that within days of deliberately seeking God’s will, I received the file for a child who I have watched age before my eyes.  A child I have advocated for but never knew the province he resided in.  After a quick search to determine the city he resides in, BINGO, I found he happens to be the same province as Esther!!!  My heart skipped a beat and I chuckled because I knew God was right there with me with, along with a huge grin on his face.  Okay God, I get it, you have a second child you want us to parent.  Now how are we going to fund two adoptions, God?  This journey wasn’t on our radar.   Again, I had yet to break the subject of adopting two with my husband; I needed God to prove that this was His will.

While I knew he likely had this all worked out, I needed proof.  God showed up once again.  About mid-October I learned that the field instructor for my internship that was supposed to begin October 27th was resigning.  No problem, I contacted my plan B location but they too were unable to accommodate me, at this time.  That means the start date for my internship gets pushed off till January 11th, which now allows me to substitute teach for the next 8 weeks  =  extra income!!!  While this won’t cover all the adoption fees, it will be helpful, especially with the holiday season upon us!  

The time had come to approach my husband.  The timing finally felt right.  What I anticipated would be a “state and persuade my case” discussion, turned out to be another answered prayer.  God had prepared his heart for this!!!  I nearly cried as a sense of peace washed over me knowing that God was in control, not me.   So surprise, or maybe not…..but we’re going to China for two again...this time for a daughter and a son!!! 

Who is this child?  Stay tuned for the big reveal!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Continuation of God's Masterpiece of our family....

As mentioned at the end of the prior post, God seems to pick the craziest times in our lives to ask us to take a leap of faith, but we find that when we rely on Him, He will show us that He is in control!  This and the following post are about answered prayers, not just one, but many!

Over the past year, or maybe longer, I have kept my heart open to adopting again, though I definitely wasn't thinking I was ready to do it anytime soon.  We already have an active house with our own six kids, plus two exchange students, and me finishing up my master's degree.  Despite that, I have continually prayed that if or when God was going to call us to adopt again, it would have to be my husband who initiated the journey... now watch how that journey unfolds and ripples.....

You see, while I stood in that airport watching Lan walk through the gates, along with my heart,  next to me stood a woman (we'll call her Jane) who came to meet Lan before she returned to China.  Why?  Because she was interested in adopting Lan.  When my husband said "maybe we should lock her file" my heart was so confused.  When deciding to host Lan, I went into the journey with the full intent of finding her a family.  I put up a "barrier" around my heart so I would be able to "let her go", as long as she had a family.  

As I stood there, reading his text my heart sank , thinking that Jane might be her family.  I couldn't just tell Jane "sorry you spent money on a plane ticket to meet this precious girl but we've changed our minds" - I wasn't sure what to feel.  Therefore, we didn't really talking about it, I wanted to allow time for things to "work out".  

In the mean time, our oldest daughter, who is 12 years old, was devastated after leaving the airport.  She sobbed most of the way home, and off and on for the next few days; she pleaded with us, asking why we couldn't be Lan's family.  The idea weighed heavy on my heart, therefore, I sent an email to Jane, asking for an update.  She mentioned she had received files from her agency for a few other girls and was looking over them.  I responded that that our daughter was struggling with Lan being gone, without a committed family; as well as sharing what my prayer had been for the past year and the text I received from my husband while standing at the airport, that I was contemplating what it all meant.  With much relief, I received an email back stating that she didn't think pursing Lan was going to work out for her family, that she and her family would give us their blessing to adopt Lan!!!  Sweet relief!

And so our third adoption journey began at the end of July.  We submitted our letter asking for China's permission to adopt Lan on August 2nd and received the letter of pre-approval on August 19th!  She will be our youngest daughter, but not youngest child, Corban and Tegan are about 16 months younger. And answered prayers don't stop there....   


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

God's Masterpiece of our family isn't complete yet!

The past year, in a nutshell....

Nearly another year has passed since my last post, yet so much has happened!  This past year has been spent getting familiar with our new home (which means we've done lots of work on it) and community in Indiana.  Overall, it has gone pretty well.  The kids are loving their new schools and friends!  We are part of a church with a great youth program! And, we've seen more family in the past year than we did the almost 14-years we lived in Iowa.  

We have made many great new connections here, one of which led us to begin hosting exchange students who were being moved from their original homes!  This past winter/spring, we were blessed to become host parents to a young man from Egypt in February and then another young man from Japan at the end of April.  While we didn't get to enjoy them for the entire school year, we were blessed to get to know them in the short few months they were with us!  You see, our home would not have been ready at the beginning of the school year, we had to do some major remodeling to get our new home from 4 bedrooms to 6!  God's timing was perfectly planned!  Sending those boys back to their home countries in June was hard but worth it!

Because of that awesome experience, we decided to host again!  This time for the entire school year.  We are now host parents to two more awesome young men, one from Germany and another from the Republic of Georgia.  Two more wonderful blessings.  We are traveling around the world without leaving our home!  

During the "down time" between the exchange students, this summer, we decided to host an orphan from China.  We originally chose to do it to host a precious nevus boy who I had been advocating for, over the past 3 years.  The goal, to help better advocate for and find him a family.  By the time we got our application in, another family was reviewing his file to host him.  Well then were notified that the family instead decided to adopt him!!!!  Praise the Lord!

Since we had already gone through the application efforts, we decided to ask about another child - a beautiful 7 year old girl (Lan) who was stated as having cerebral palsy (CP).  We reviewed the little bit of medical information they had on her and watched a few short video clips that showed some of her skills to be sure she would be able to walk up and down stairs (because that is where her bedroom would be).  From what we saw in the videos we presumed the CP must be mild.  She was to come stay with us from the end of June till the end of July, a four weeks visit.  Unfortunately, there was a world wide Visa technical issuance glitch that prevented her Visa (and many, many others) from being completed on time and was then only able to come for 2 weeks.

Lan arrived the first week of July, an obviously scared but beautiful little girl.  Our 12-year old daughter, Kailey, instantly fell in love with her and was great with her!  Over the next two weeks, Lan began to open up and we started to see her lively personality and gorgeous smile.  Of course, just as she was beginning to emerge from he shell and get into the flow of things, it was time to take her to Chicago to put her on a flight back to China.  One of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  While sending our exchange students home was hard, we knew they were going home to families, this little girl wasn't going back to a family and our hearts were heavy.  

I had a family very interested in her during this time but the agency said there was an age concern (China's adoption rule: If both parents are over 50, no more than a 50 year age difference between child and the younger applicant).  Lan's file was also reviewed by a handful of families while she was in the states but her medical file was 3 years old and stated two special needs.  You can look at either one of these special needs and be intimidated by them but when you put them on paper together and consider the extreme case of either one it sounds intimidating to take on.  Therefore, I think families were worried it was more than they could handle.    

Our experience with her was quite the opposite.  We saw a little girl with so much potential.  We took her to a physical therapist who was not convinced that she has CP.  What he saw were likely motor delays due to institutional living.  Her medical file was deceiving and hindered her chance of a family committing to her.

I went into this with the mindset that adoption just was not on our radar.  We already have 6 kids ranging in age from 16 to 6, plus two exchange students coming.  We were too busy and I didn't feel I could handle any more while trying to finish up my master's degree.  I should know better by now, God takes those exact opportunities to show his presence, grace, and support.  While standing at the airport I received a text from my husband - "maybe we should lock her file" - my heart skipped a beat and pressure filled my chest...

God, you picked a really crazy time to answer my prayer...... to be continued. 

Pictures of our Journey to bring Tegan and Corban home!